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N251WT accident description

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Crash location 45.659722°N, 94.930278°W
Nearest city Sauk Centre, MN
45.721354°N, 94.954744°W
4.4 miles away
Tail number N251WT
Accident date 23 Jan 2018
Aircraft type Skwira Matthew J W-10 Tailwind
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On January 23, 2018, about 1530 central standard time, a Whitman Tailwind experimental homebuilt airplane, N251WT, registered to the pilot, was substantially damaged after impacting terrain about 2.7 miles south of the Sauk Centre Municipal Airport (D39), Sauk Centre, Minnesota. The pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area and no flight plan was filed. The local personal flight was being operated under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from D39 about 1200.

After an ALNOT was issued, the airplane was located about 0820 on January 24, 2018. The ground search was assisted by the Air Force Forensic Cellular Team. The wreckage was located at grid coordinates North 45.659722 West 94.930278, about 2.7 miles south of the Sauk Centre airport.

On January 25, 2018, The NTSB arrived at the accident site and examined the wreckage. The site was a large plowed field with no obstructions. Signatures at the site showed that the airplane impacted the ground approximately 45-degrees nose down. The cockpit and front structure of the cabin were mostly destroyed by impact forces. Both wings' leading edges were destroyed. The empennage was bent slightly forward and crumpled along its longitudinal length. There were no signs of rolling at impact and it appeared that the wings were level at the time of impact. One propeller blade was visible and was relatively undamaged. The second propeller blade was found shattered underneath the engine. The right elevator was found disconnected to the elevator control system and moved freely. The left elevator was locked in the full down position and was not able to be moved. The right elevator damaged portions were removed at the site and preserved for further examination.

The left side of the cabin structure had been moved by first responders for retrieval of the pilot. There was no evidence of a post-crash fire and the smell of fuel was not present. There was no evidence in the surrounding area of impact with any obstructions prior to ground impact.

The wreckage was recovered late on January 25th and transported to a secure facility in Lakeville, Minnesota, for more detailed examinations of the airframe and engine.

On January 26, 2018, the NTSB IIC examined the aircraft at Wentworth Aviation in Lakeville, Minnesota. Access panels and fabric were removed to facilitate a detailed flight control examination. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit to all control surfaces, except the connection to the right elevator control horn. The control horn was found fractured at the accident site. The fracture was adjacent to a weld joint. The left elevator was connected and appeared undamaged. Also, the right elevator shows damage at the upper and lower hinge points. The left elevator did not show damage to the hinge points.

No other anomalies were found during the airframe and engine examinations.

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